Ofsted have recently published a new report which called into question how and why children move to home education during their time at secondary school.
Based on a small, exploratory study of seven local authorities in the East Midlands, the report pays particular attention to such moves as a means of resolving issues at school, drawing further attention to the fact that home education is often used as a last resort once relationships between schools and pupils or parents have broken down.
Special educational needs, along with medical, behavioural or other wellbeing factors, are identified as the leading reasons behind moves to home education, with some parents reporting that schools had pressurised them into making the decision to home educate, particularly to avoid exclusion. Others disclosed that the move was simply to avoid prosecution for non-attendance.
For their part, a number of schools expressed uncertainty about their responsibilities following moves to home education, explaining why some parents have been left unaware when it comes to matters such as the cost of home education or the process for sitting external exams.
There is a responsibility to ensure that the decision to home educate is a positive one for all concerned and that the school has done everything within its power to consider the best interest of the pupil. Schools encouraging parents to remove a child to home education may indicate the illegal and immoral practice of off-rolling. This will likely lead Ofsted to judge leadership and management as inadequate.